Dissertation Student Forum

Dr Kathryn Simpson, UK Data Service Research Associate at the University of Manchester, discusses the new quantitative resources for students and teachers designed by the UK Data Service.

Student Resources

The UK Data Service has developed a suite ofStudent Resourceswebpages for students who are using quantitative methods and secondary data in their research. We’ve found that when starting a research project many students assume that it is necessary to collect their own data, however there are many good quality datasets they can use – the UK in particular is rich in data, with the government regularly using representative surveys to inform policy. Data from these large social surveys are routinely archived and made available for others to use for data analysis. Re-using data saves time and allows students to have access to a wide variety of high quality data. The Student Resources webpages aim to help students utilise some of the extensive survey data available and are designed to support those starting small research projects, particularly those students who are writing dissertations. Along with survey data, the webpages also contain information about other data such as census data, international macrodata and qualitative data held by theUK Data Service.

In conjunction with theStudent Resourcespages, the UK Data Service has also developed aUsing Survey Data Guidewhich aims to help students conducting project work and dissertations get started with projects using quantitative collections, most notably survey data[1]. Within the Using Survey Data Guide, key issues are related to “real-world” data using an example research project which covers themes such as research questions and designs, finding and accessing relevant data, getting started with data analysis and reporting of results. 

Student Forum

The UK Data Service has also developed a Student Forum on Facebookwhich has over 175 members. The Forum hosts discussions on how to source and use data from the UK Data Service. Open to all students; undergraduate, taught postgraduates and doctoral students, the forum helps facilitate the peer–to-peer support provided. Joining theUK Data Service Student Forumis easy – sign in with a Facebook account and request to join the forum.

Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2016

The UK Data Service has launched a Dissertation Prize which is open to all undergraduate students using quantitative data available through the UK Data Service in their dissertation. The prize will be awarded to a dissertation that demonstrates flair and originality in using quantitative data and the winning dissertation, along with its key findings, will be publicised on the UK Data Service website and to our networks within the social sciences through the UK Data Services’ quarterly Newsletter. Full details about this year’s Undergraduate Dissertation prize can be found on our UK Data Service website.

Teaching Resources

Following consultation with teachers the UK Data Service has developed aTeaching Resources Rubric – a one stop shop which provides direct access to the suite of Methods Guides available from the UK Data Service according to theme covered, dataset used and methodology employed. These resources provide teachers with direct access to Teaching and Learning Worksheets for use in the classroom to help students learn statistical techniques using real-world data from the UK Data Service. The Teaching Rubric also includes guides on using data from international organisations such as the IMF, OECD and World Bank as well as practical software guides about usingSPSS, StataandR.

We have also updated ourTeaching with Dataweb pages which now include guidance on making your own teaching data, as well as thequantitative resourcesandqualitative/mixed methods resourcesavailable for teaching.  The UK Data Service also has datasets specifically designed for teaching based on real data that has been kept to a manageable size to make it more accessible and engaging for students. Our teaching datasets include simplified versions of major survey datasets, qualitative data for teaching a range of themes-all of which can be found on theTeaching Resources webpage.Newly released open-access Teaching Datasets include the2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales, theJan-March 2015 Quarterly Labour Force Survey, theApril-May 2015 Opinions & Lifestyle Surveyand the2012/13 English Housing Survey.

[1]The Using Survey Data Guide is based on the following workbook Williamson, L., Brown, M., Wathan, J., Higgins, V., (2013) Secondary Analysis for Social Scientists: Analysing the fear of crime using the British Crime Survey. The workbook was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Comprised of students elected annually from across the GSD student body, the Student Forum works to improve student life at the GSD and serves as a link between the student body and the school administration. Members of Student Forum participate in the meetings of the Student Academic Affairs Committee and meet weekly with Student Services to help foster a continuous dialogue between students and administrators. Student Forum members also meet with the Dean and the Alumni Council to communicate students’ interests and concerns. Meetings open to the entire student body are scheduled every semester, including an open meeting with the Dean. Members of Student Forum represent the GSD on the university-wide Graduate Student Council and other ad-hoc administrative and student committees.

The Student Forum also has a great impact on students’ social lives, throwing the GSD’s biggest bashes and managing allocations to student groups and activities funded by the Student Activity Fee. Being part of Student Forum is a great way to feel connected and contribute your ideas—from how the plotters work, to how clean the bathrooms are, to fostering studio culture— Student Forum makes sure your voice is heard.

The Student Activity Fee provides funds for student groups as well as other activities and projects hosted by Student Forum. Income from the fee is administered by Student Forum and disbursed by Student Services staff.

Student Forum officers are elected by the GSD student body each spring. They serve for a full academic year, taking over from the outgoing leadership each May, and serving for the following fall and spring semesters.

Student Forum 2017-2018:

President: Taylor Halamka

Academic Chair: Iggy So

Diversity and Inclusion Chair: Mena Wasti Ahmed

Student Groups Chair: Sam Matthew

Professional Development Chair: William Baumgardner

Social Events Chair: Esther Bang

Resources Chair: Bryan Ortega-Welch

To be appointed, Fall 2017:
Title IX Outreach Officer, Social Events Officers, other officers as needed

Download a PDF of the 2017-2018 Student Forum Leadership

To contact Student Forum, email studentforum@gsd.harvard.edu

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